LONDON (Reuters) - Defending champion Britain were on top of their game early in Olympic men's team pursuit cycling as they smashed their own world record in qualifying on Thursday.
Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh clocked three minutes 52.499 seconds over 4,000 meters in the qualifying session to beat the record they had set in April by 0.796 seconds.
World champion Britain's performance could not be matched by arch-rivals Australia as Jack Bobridge, Glenn O'Shea, Dennis Rohan and Michael Hepburn came second more than three seconds off the pace.
Britain will take on Denmark in the first round while Australia meet New Zealand.
The winners from these match-ups will contest the gold medal final, with the other two battling it out for bronze.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond and Jason Neely)